I plan to build a top bar hive (kinda like this one: http://www.xscd.com/tbh/ ) in my backyard in Richmond, Virginia. If I'm not already too late, I plan to stock it with package bees. Would anyone recommend a particular race of bees for this setup? A particular vendor? Thanks.
You're certainly not too late. Italians are very popular around here with a few choosing Buckfast and I have kept Carniolans that did very well.
I have had, and enjoyed, Buckfasts for many years. They were calm, easy to work with and ver productive. But this last year after swarming they turned viscious. I had a similar experience, but not quite as bad, with Starlines. I'm leaning more toward avoiding the hybrids (Buckfasts, Midnights, Starlines) and stick with some open mated types. I think as far as Italians, Caucasians, Cardovans etc. they all seem quiet and production. I'm going to try for bees from survivor feral stock. I have tried Italians (from several sources), Russians (from several sources) and liked them both. I had one Harbo and they absconded. Not proof that they all would, but this one did.
I didn't mention vendors:
I have purchased bees and queens from the following, all of which gave good service and good bees.
B Weaver Apiaries. I have purchased Buckfast, Russion, Harbo, All American (Italian) and except for the absconding Harbo had good luck with all of them. Except for the Buckfasts that turned vicious on me after swarming. I have purchased packages and queens. They are a little higher priced. One reason I get packages from them is I am closer to them than the apiaries in Georgia, so I can get packages delivered insured.
Wilbanks Apiary (912-739-4820) I have purchased Italian queens from them and they did well.
Hardeman Apiaries (912-583-2710) I have purchased Russian and Italian queens and they did well.
Walter T. Kelly http://www.kelleybees.com/ I have purchased Russian and Italian queens (which I think come from Hardeman Apiaries) they did well. The prices were excellent.
I'm not in Virginia.
I have built top bar hives and like them. If you want to talk more about top bar hives or have questions feel free to ask.
Hi Harlond and Everyone,
Beesource has an active forum for tbh users. Check out:
Take some pictures when your building and post them here. I'd like to see it and hear about your experiences.
Check out Barry's and Michael's approach at:
I hope to have my tbh built in a few weeks and will post my photos there.
Thanks, Dennis, those are very useful links. Don't have a camera yet, but maybe oneday.
[This message has been edited by harlond (edited January 17, 2003).]
Also there was a long discussion: http://www.beesource.com/ubb/Forum12/HTML/000012.html
on TBH on this board that you might find interesting.